published Monday, May 9th, 2011

5 at 10: Derby winner, NBA loser and MLB pitching continues to dominate

Wow, what a weekend. Since we've written like 10,000 words, let's not waste any more time.

From the "7-Up Stinks Studios" here we go...

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    Andrew Bynum launches elbow at Dallas Mavericks' Jose Juan Barea in the closing minutes of Game 4. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A Lake of disappointment

OK, raise your hand if you had Phil Jackson's Hall of Fame career ending with a Mavericks' four-game sweep and a code-red meltdown by Jackson's Lakers. Wow — and here's saying that Andrew Bynum misses the first 20 games next year for his bush league showing in the fourth quarter (click here for video). Bynum unloaded a cheap shot on J.J. Barea after the game was well-decided, and if the flagrant foul wasn't enough, Bynum completed the complete-jerk routine by storming off the court (which means it was more than frustration, it was premeditated) and taking his jersey off about halfway to the locker room. Hey Andrew, Dennis Rodman is in the Hall of Fame for rebounding and defense — not for his maturity or his grace; try emulating more of the former than the latter, huh? (As for Bynum's looming suspension, well, there are several mitigating factors: this summer's labor struggle; Bynum's injury history and the fact that he's all-but-certain to be on the injured reserve to start the next season — whenever it is; Bynum is a likely candidate to be traded in the coming months, days or even hours.)

That said, Jackson's almost assured exit and the Lakers implosion dominated what was an awesome weekend in NBA playoff action. Let's try to wrap it up with a top-five in 10 words or less (yes, the soon-to-be copyrighted 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10):

— Rondo's got heart: If Celtics advance, Rondo's return Saturday will be Boston legend.

— Hey, you know Kevin Durant's on your team, right? Russell Westbrook can play, but Durant needs more touches late.

— Everyone knew Zach Randolph was the second-coming of Moses Malone: Z-Bo went 20-20 as Grizzlies keep impressing.

— Dirk and a Dynamite Dozen in Dallas: Nowitzki finally has lots of help — reserves scored 81 Sunday.

— Bulls-Hawks is anyone's series: D-Rose has no help; Hawks can be bad or great.

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    Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, right, has water thrown on him after throwing a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

Baseball back to pitchers

In the last six days, there have been eight complete-game shutouts and two no-hiters.

Wonder what has caused the pitchers to return to dominance? The 5-at-0 is sure it has nothing to do with the crack down on PEDs. Surely not.

Anyhoo, your Atlanta Braves are among those pitching staffs that have reached out and grabbed opposing's hitters by the head. Highlighted by Tim Hudson's one-hitter last week and Derek Lowe's flirtation with a no-no Friday night in Philly, the Braves have hit their stride.

Winners of seven of their last eight (Hey, Jair Jurrjens, welcome back amigo), Atlanta has improved to 20-16, just 3 1/2 games back of the Phillies, who have the best record in the NL.

Know this: If these Braves average 4.5 runs per game, go ahead and book your postseason tickets. The starters are impressive 1 through 5 (Hey, Brandon Beachy, welcome to the

show kid) and closer Craig Kimbrel is boss. Seriously, that kid has electric stuff — if you're touching 98-99 on the radar gun and then can flip that frisbee slider up there for strikes, well,

good night folks.

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    John Velazquez rides Animal Kingdom to victory during the 137th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2011, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Derby done

Animal Kingdom won Saturday's Kentucky Derby, which actually was the best 2:02 in sports.

In fact, the only thing that would've made it better is if this horse won.

None of our entries had the winner, but in the true spirit of each 5-at-10 challenge, we had a winner at picking the loser.

Way to go CelticVol, who correctly picked Comma to the Top as the Last-In. We're digging through the prize drawer to see what we have in way of compensation , C-Vol, but there will be something. And it will more than likely pale in comparison to the ultimate pride and satisifaction of prevailing in something as rigorous and demanding as the "Derby Drama First-In,

Last-in Challenge." Well, unless we land Braves tickets, and those are boss.

Anyhoo, with the Derby in the rearview mirrow, that brings us to two strange facts in sports.

On a fan-interest level, is there another event that so dominates its sport like the Derby. For most of the world, horse racing is the Derby and vice versa. Maybe the Tour de France? Maybe the Olympics for some swimming/gymnastics/runnng events?

That said, is there an event in any sport that is more dependant on another event than the Belmont Stakes? If Animal Kingdom wins at the Preakness in a couple of weeks and has a

shot at the triple crown, the Belmont becomes a huge deal, If any other horse wins the Preakness, then the Belmont will be all-but ignored and could be televised on ESPN the

Ocho. (Now if Pepper and Cotton are calling the ace, we'll definitely be watching.)

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    Crew members for Regan Smith, celebrate after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway Saturday, May 7, 2011, in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

Not the Derby, but racing and horse play nonetheless

Hey, gang, if NASCAR was going to go anymore old school, there would Plymouths in the field and they'd be re-filling with regular gasoline.

Tempers and racing were running hot Saturday night at Darlington, and while Regan Smith captured his first Sprint Cup win, the storylines that have emerged in this NASCAR season have hooked the 5-at-10. They've sucked us back in.

And the reason is simple — the emotion is back in NASCAR. The hubbub about the Car of Tomorrow and the public appearances and the NASCAR power brokers that worried more about pleasing people and attracting new fans more familiar with the stock market than stock cars have passed.

This was about winning again, and the emotion that goes into NASCAR is contagious. In truth that's what we want from sports — emotion and feeling and passion. That's why we love the

playoffs, because the pressure increases the drama which increases the emotion.

And NASCAR is flush with emotion right now. Be it Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman getting into an altercation or Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick laying the groundwork for a big-time fued (click here for video) among legit big-time Big-Timers in NASCAR or even Smith's tears of joy after winning at one of NASCAR's most history-rich venues.

Sonoco fuels the race cars; passion fuels the race fans — and NASCAR is flush with both right now. (Side note: Did you see how Harvick handled his post-race interview after his on-track exchange with Busch and after being called into NASCAR's principal's office? It was exactly how Dale Earnhardt would have handled it — minus the bushy mustache of course.)

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    Manny Pacquiao, right, looks down at Shane Mosley who slipped during the fourth round as referee Kenny Bayless looks on during a WBO welterweight title bout, Saturday, May 7, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

This and that

— Manny Pacquiao manhandled Shane Mosely on Saturday night. Pacquiao is a gifted fighter with great hand speed that ranks among the all-time greats, and he has earned the title of world's best pound-for-pound boxer. But whipping 38-year-old Mosely is well and good, and it's impossible to blame Pacquiao for hiting his prime in arguably the biggest boxing vacuum ever, but it's impossible to ignore that boxing is just bad right now. Want to know how bad boxing is: a 48-year-old Evander Holyfield beat some Dutchman with a 10th-round TKO before a sold-out crowd of 2,100 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

— OK, things are getting crazy at Ohio State. The Columbus Dispatch looked into car sales for roughly 50 people either directly or indirectly involved with THE Ohio State University football program, including Terrelle Pryor's mom. Let's just say that paperwork for at least one player had a list price for a 2009 Dodge as $0, but it's OK because the player said he was still making payments. (If the price is $0 and it's financed over 48 months at 4.8 percent, let's see the payments would be... carry the 4.... divide by 12.... yep that would be $0 a month.OK.) Also of note, the salesman who handled a large number of the deals at two dealerships frequently was on a pass list for OSU athletic events. There could be a completely logical and above-board explanation for this — seriously — but it does not look good, especially considering Jim Tressel's recent struggles with integrity

— Speaking of Tressel, there has been an additional reprimand from his failure to inform his bosses and the NCAA about violations and then his lying about knowing his players committed NCAA violations. Tressel will be forced to go to an NCAA compliance seminar. It's a five-day event... in Tampa, Fla., in June at a resort on the waterfront. Oh no, don't throw Tressel into the briar patch that his a five-day vacation in Tampa. No... Oh the humanity.

— Did Chris Bosh really say his Game 3 performance was affected by nerves? Really? Anyone still wondering which Heat player was crying after a regular-season loss? Best guesses for Kevin Garnett's trash-talk to Bosh in Game 4 tonight? (And keep it clean folks, remember we're a family-oriented-Intertube-web-based-sports column.)

Until tomorrow...

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Eustice_Chase said...

The Son's of Mothers on ESPN were already discussing possible trades From LA to Orlanda...a Odom- Gasol combo for D-Howard...nice...Im ready for next year already and this year isnt even over yet....Im loving the NBA...lets hope the labor struggles get fixed now that D-Fish is out and concentrate on it....and how about those Braves....they are looking like the NL east title contenders were prophesized about

May 9, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, I been thinking (a dangerous proposition, to be sure). If you’re a switch hitting catcher, with power, how come you only get to spend 21 days in “the show” and spend all those years toiling in the minors? I mean, Damon Berryhill fashioned a lengthy major league career out of being a switch hitting catcher with not much in the way of power. But Crash Davis? Do what? That’s fictional? Crap. Well, no wonder. I gotta quit watching stuff on AMC at 0300. The end of the Lakers game was so bad I expected Adam Morrison to come running out onto the floor just so he could sit on midcourt and cry.

May 9, 2011 at 10:55 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Bynum deserves some serious punishment, not only for what he did..but they way he took off his jersey while on the court...David Stren should air an NBA special to announce the punishment and have the near 300lb Bynum lay across Stern's lap for a good ol' fashion whoopin!!!!

May 9, 2011 at 11:42 a.m.
bigbearzzz said...

Third Place...Macho Man came in always...right there near the top but not quiet there. Lakers: Time for some remanning to take place in the ol purple n gold camp. Still rooting for my native bear clan out to the west of us..which with my luck they'll either come in third or second. Didnt get to see any professional sports again this weekend due to being up in Athens Saturday night for two TSSAA Softball District games....had the game between Walker Valley and Rhea...great game. Walker Valley just would not go away and almost pulled it off. Loved it. As far as the punishment on Bynum goes, EC.....i really dont want to see that whole bynum laying across stern's lap spanking episode....i just dont feel like that is family friendly viewing there...just sayin.....

May 9, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Spot on about the energy in these playoffs; but you know the labor issues are real and apparently more troubling than the NFL's. The NBA, were good things coming to a dead-stop happens.

And consider us 100-percent in support of Stern publicly reprimanding Bynum (Oso has a point and it feels like we seen a little too much of Bynum as it is). What a bush league move — and you're right the exit was every bit as bad as the foul.

Oso —

You're always in the mix, but haven't found a way to breakthrough. And if the Grizzlies finish second, three things will happen:

—David Stern's head will pop off because Memphis is in the finals; — At least four former GMs will have their heads pop off because perennially underachieveang Zach Randolph led Memphis into the finals; — The Grizzlies' attendance will jump from 29th to 26th next year on the heels of Memphis making the finals.

BIspy —

Hard to say what kept Crash out of the big leagues, but you're right there have been some flat awful hitting catchers that make a decent career out of catching every fifth day. Heck, Eddie Perez had a 10-year career and he wasn't even a switch hitter. (And don;t even start with Perez being Greg Maddux's personal catcher — the way Maddux pitched, you could have been his personal catcher; a pitching savant like Maddux needing a specific catcher would be like Stephen Hawking needing someone to figure out how much to tip).

Love the Adam Morrison line. He and Chris Bosh may get together this weekend and watch "The Notebook" — not that there's anything wrong with that. For you: Where does Rondo's return rank in C's history? Boston sports' history? And what does Garnett hit Bosh with at the jump-ball circle tonight?


— 5-at-10

May 9, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Rondo just elevated himself to the status reserved for Dave Cowens and John Havlicek. KG could just as easily talk smack to D-Wade needing a wheelchair for his shoulder injury as he could to Bosh for his “nerves.” I get the feeling that whatever KG says to Bosh as they lineup during a free throw may not be for the faint of heart. And that means you, Mr. Bosh.

Just remember, the Phils still have Doc, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Oswalt, and a lineup of Rollins, Victorino and Howard, and they’ll get Utley back in a few weeks. Yes, the artist formerly known as Raul Ibanez has been an Isore in the lineup and they miss Jayson Werth — must be moonlighting as Edge in the WWE again — but the Phils remain Phormidable.

May 9, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Huge surprise to me to see the Lakers FOLD UP AND GO HOME! I am no fan but am saddened to see such a poor effort as Philman supposedly dribbles into the sunset. Kudos to an incredible series by the Mavs. THE Ohio State looks to deserve THE treatment THE NCAA chooses to lay on them. Who knows what the THE will be with that body?

May 9, 2011 at 12:48 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

But Edge had to retire due to a neck injury and he hasnt performed inside the squared circle since Wresltmania in April....not that anyone cared...but..yeah... I a have feeling KG..who looks like he is from another a stud on the court and I have enjoyed him since his T-Wolves days where he did everything short of re-filling the gatorade jugs and mopping the floor after someone took a dive...Will probably ask Bosh if his man-hood was disgarded along with his hair...but not in so many words....if the Grizzlies do the impossible and Make it to the Finals....would this be good or bad for the Labor issues? All of these Small Market teams are complaining about losing their big stars...??? Maybe this is all part of Stern's master plan....

May 9, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BIspy —

Agree that Rondo just took the New England leap into rarified air (maybe those incredibly irritating guys in the deli on the ESPN commercial complaining about capicola will make a Rondo Sammich). If they win the series, it will be magnified, too. The Phils are phormidable (although we're still not sold that Utley will be back any time soon), but they have holes. Although they have the Flyin' Hawaiian and Rollins — two guys that will combine to steal twice as many bases as the Braves as a team (seriously, Heyward has a team-leading 2 steals — yes 2, TWO).

Livin(Large) —

Here's hoping the NCAA has as big an influence on THE OSU and Tressel as they did on Pearl and UT hoops. Nothing more or less — but as Billie Jean said, "Fair is fair."

EC —

Never thought about it, but you could be onto something here. David Stern is too good and too powerful to let Memphis sneak into the finals. What if he wants Memphis in the finals? BRILL-iant. Even Dallas, which has a one elite player and a lot of depth, thumping the Lakers could have positive labor ramifications. Excellent work EC. If it turns out to be a Memphis-Atlanta in the finals, now we know what's up.

Here's our thought about KG tonight:

— First time D-Wade enters the paint, he'll be flat on his back. That's an almost certainty;

— At the jump ball circle, KG hits Bosh with a few R-rated heckles before settling on calling Bosh Tippy the Turtle (for his long turtle-like neck and his need for a protective shell)

— Rondo tweaks his shoulder late in the second quarter; C's return without him for the third; and then during a TV timeout, "More than a feeling" by Boston comes blaring over the speakers, and out comes Rondo. Joint goes nuts; LeBron smiles (and misses his next 6 shots) and Bosh starts running in circles and hitting himself in the head like Rain Man.

— C's in a blowout; Capicola for everyone.

May 9, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
kburgess1013 said...

Definitely did not see the finish for the Derby coming. Congrats to Celtic Vol!
As for your question posed, I suppose that you could say that the World Cup is to soccer as the Derby is to horse racing (prerequisite for being drunk and all), only instead of one day year, it rears its nasty vuvuzela tooting, beer soaked head for a month every four years.
I've had a hard time keeping up with and caring about the NBA playoffs. Hope the Hawks do well, but the players squeaking around the court is like nails to a chalk board to my ears. No offense to the 5-at-10 and previous high school basketball career.

May 9, 2011 at 1:57 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

The Derby was flat out awesome....Shakelford was in the lead for quite some time...(my pick to win it all) but I felt like the rider was leaning to the left and causing some slow and go...but what do I know about Horse Racing...about as much as I know about Capicola i suppose....but if you wanna talk Mtn Dew, Funnyuns, and a wide variety of sports related acronyms...Im your guy!

May 9, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

KBurg —

Nice job getting everyone around these parts interested in the Derby. The first annual "Derby Drama Challenge" will certainly be repeated.

EC —

The 5-at-10 wanted Shackleford to win and then see which fared better on the Wonderlic, Shackleford, the Derby champ, or Charles Shackleford, former NC State hoops standout and NBA first-rounder. And there is no one who is doubting your MMA, WWE, NGW, etc., author-a-tie.

— 5-at-10

May 9, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

The Mrs. even said to me...I have never seen you watch the Kentucky yes thank you was just long enough to be exciting and short enough for me not to get bored...

May 9, 2011 at 2:51 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...


May 9, 2011 at 2:56 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Oso- that does seem fitting...

I wonder if that Sports Editor has put any more thought into adding some MMA PPV results in the Sunday edition of the Times Free Press.....

May 9, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.
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